Instructional Design

3 Things to Know About the Tin Can API

Let’s be honest with ourselves:  although SCORM claims to be able to communicate with any LMS (Learning Management System) and vice versa, eLearning and education professionals admit to finding huge gaps in employees’ training progress when evaluating results based just on this system.  Using the new Tin Can API system will allow program developers to better interpret data because this new API is able to measure learning in ways that the older SCORM program was not.  Below are three of the most important upgrades that eLearning professionals will benefit from when switching over to the Tin Can.

It allows multiple systems to speak to each other. 

The Tin Can API records and tracks all types of learning experiences.  What this means is that employers will no longer have to upload a course to the LMS because the API is now able to host content outside of the traditional learning management system.  All results are automatically uploaded into what is referred to as an LRS (Learning Record Store), which can exist within a traditional LMS as well as on its own.

Tin Can API stores data as Actor:Verb:Object. 

This means that the computer records data in the form of Someone:DID:Something, allowing you to measure an employee’s trajectory rather than amount of learning.  This is beneficial when looking at educational trends more accurately.  For example, Ted is going from A to B, but the system only measures if he is walking.  If Ted takes a car to get from A to B, he is still arriving at the same end result, but he is doing so in a different way.  The Tin Can API is able to recognize that learning is happening even if the method of teaching changes for each participant.

It gives each designer the power to customize. 

As the designer of an eLearning course, it is up to you to define what type of activity is “meaningful” enough for the API to track.  For example, if the goal is to get Ted from point A to point B in less than twenty minutes, you can measure his progress in different ways.  Maybe on day 1 he learned about getting a car, day 2 he studied for his driver’s permit, day 3 he passed the test, and day 4 he bought a car.  All of these steps show that Ted is making progress towards his ultimate goal of traveling between A and B faster than before, but if we were to just measure his progress by time it would be hard to discern whether or not he is improving.  By looking at a bigger picture, both employers and employees will feel a larger sense of accomplishment.